Invitations sent to world leaders
New Zealand could play host to an assortment of the world’s most powerful leaders, as the prime minister’s office confirms it is trying to entice them on a side trip around the G20 Summit later this year.
John Key confirmed invitations had been sent to a number of world leaders to visit New Zealand on the back of the summit of major economies being held in Brisbane in November.
US President Barack Obama, German Vice Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper are among those invited.
Key said he did not know whether all would be able to visit, but he expected some would trip across the ditch.
‘‘So we’ve issued invitations to people that we know are obviously going to the G20, we’re actively encouraging people to come. Not all of them will but certainly some of them will and I think it will be great for New Zealand,’’ he said.
Many of the leaders were keen and the summit presented a rare opportunity for them to make what was normally a long trip.
‘‘Most of them I’ve spoken to and we’ve said practically it’s pretty close, ’you could come for the day, you could come for the evening’ and we’re obviously working with their home country foreign affairs offices to think about how we can structure that to give them the best experience,’’ Key said.
He said he was confident at least one or two would make the trip.
However, whether it is Key who will greet them is another matter, with an election date yet to be set. He said he would be announcing the date soon, but there were still some ‘‘complicating factors’’ to be discussed.
However, visits from any of those invited would be important for New Zealand, whoever was in government, he said. New Zealand is not a member of the G20, which comprises 19 countries and the European Union.